The 4-H Ontario Ambassador program provides youth with advanced level training in leadership, citizenship, communications and public relations. Ambassadors put their energy and 4-H experiences to work recruiting new members and sharing the 4-H story. To book an Ambassador for your local event click here. The 4-H Ontario Ambassador Program is sponsored by FS.
Submitted by Nicole French, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Peel 4-H Association
A Year In Review
As 2018 comes to a close I look back at all the amazing opportunities and adventures I had this past year. This year has flown by and I am glad that I got to make some amazing memories and meet some incredible people.
My year started off by being chosen to represent 4-H Ontario as one of the 2018 4-H Ambassadors. This was the start of an adventure with five other incredible individuals that I had the chance to watch this amazing program shape into the leaders they are today.
In March I applied to become a Youth Service Leader with 4-H Canada’s new program – Hands to Larger Service. I am truly grateful to have been selected as one of 24 YSL from across the country, because this program gave me a summer that I won’t forget.
In May, I attended a training weekend for this new program – Hands to Larger Service. Over this weekend I got the opportunity to meet 4-H members from across the country. I can now say I know people from every province in Canada! Over this weekend we learned a lot about what it takes to organize a community service project. We also had the chance to go to the Canadian McDonald’s headquarters and meet the CEO of McDonald’s Canada, John Betts. This weekend was an amazing learning experience and inspired me to look for ways to give back in my community.
At the end of August I had a unique experience. The Canada Service Corps put on a conference for all their partners to attend. I was chosen as one of three YSLs to attend this conference. This was an awesome networking opportunity because there were people there from 13 youth organizations, government officials, and also people from around the world that work to help youth serve their community. The goal of the conference was to brainstorm ideas as to how to change the culture of service in Canada, how to get more youth involved and how to keep them involved. It was a very unique experience to be apart of. I came home from the conference inspired and with connections to people across the country and around the world.
The Service project I led in Nova Scotia as well as the Service project Morgan Passmore ran in Manitoba were also chosen to be a part of a video for 4-H Canada. The video shows what the Hands to Larger Service program is all about. You can watch the video here.
Over the next two months I worked with my club in Barrington, Nova Scotia to plan their community engagement project. The Hands to Larger Service project works in partnership with the Club To Club Exchange. My partnered club exchanged with Oakville, Manitoba’s 4-H club. I had the opportunity to travel to Oakville, Manitoba and help my fellow YSL run her community service project at the end of July. I was put up by an amazing family that took Morgan (the other YSL) and I around site seeing in Winnipeg. The community service project that we ran in Manitoba was a community fun day for local youth and new comers to Canada, where they had the chance to learn about 4-H. This was a wonderful experience because I got to see the difference we were making in the lives of these youth who all left with smiles on their faces.
After I came back from Manitoba, I worked to put the finishing touches on the community service project I would be running that would be taking place at the start of August. When in Nova Scotia, Morgan and I were put up by another amazing 4-H family. (this experience has reminded me the 4-H community is filled with some of the most kind and generous people). My time in Nova Scotia was awesome, we had a beach lobster boil and beach clean up on the first day when we arrived. Our community service project was to build a pavilion at the local exhibition grounds, we also built animal pens for sheep and goats and painted the horse ring and cleaned up the barns. It was amazing to see the all the 4-H members working together to help this community with something they needed.
I had two other firsts this year, with 4-H. As an Ambassador I had the opportunity to be a facilitator at Youth Adventure Camp. As someone who attended YAC four times, this was an eye-opening experience to see the other side of YAC. You get to truly appreciate how much effort and energy the facilitators put into the camp to make it the best week of your summer. At the end of the week I was dead tired but so thankful to have been a part of a 4-H opportunity that gave me as a camper the chance to learn and grow. One thing I loved about this opportunity was watching the campers come out of there comfort zone, try new things, make new friends and learn. In the picture below is one of my favourite moments from camp, a camper who would not talk to other campers at the beginning of the week, taking charge of this team-building activity and leading the group with confidence. This is what YAC is all about and I am proud to have been apart of it.
The second opportunity that was a first for me was attending the TD Classic as a participant. This was another eye-opening experience of how little sleep you can get and still be a functioning person. This was also an opportunity to reconnect with 4-H members I had met in the past at camps and conferences. Those few days were filled with laughs and memories made. I am thankful to have been a part of this amazing opportunity.
I am so thankful for everything 4-H has done for me this past year and over the last nine years. I am proud to call myself a 4-H member and will continue to encourage youth to get involved in this one of kind program even after my time as Ambassador is finished. I am excited to see what 2019 will hold for me, but am also sad that my time representing 4-H Ontario is coming to a close. These past two years have truly been fantastic and I wish the incoming Ambassadors all the best!